SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – What makes one digital marketer better than another? Well they receive more visits from smartphone and tablet users for one, and website visitors also spend more time browsing their content and click on more pages, according to Adobe Inc.’s Best of the Best Benchmark.

Released annually at its Summit digital marketing conference, the Adobe index is based on its Marketing Cloud customer base. In the 2013 calendar year, those customers hosted more than 11,000 websites, and received 210 billion visits to those sites.  Adobe pulls the top 20 per cent of its customers (from the anonymized data) and examines what they are doing differently from the average customer to try and identify some best practices. Data can also be compared to 2012 and 2011 index data.

This year, it looks like the top one-fifth of digital marketers are gaining an even greater lead over the rest of the pack, says John Mellor, vice-president of business development and strategy at Adobe. During his keynote presentation, he put forward a theory as to why that’s happening.

“The maturity of their approach to digital marketing,” he said. “I don’t just mean they’ve been doing this for a long time, or they’re old. they’ve somehow been able to connect the dots across multiple dimensions in their organizations.”

John Mellor, vice-president of business development and strategy, Adobe presents at Summit day two.
John Mellor, vice-president of business development and strategy, Adobe presents at Summit day two.

In marketing, conversion is the holy grail of key performance indicators. It’s lingo that loosely translates to “did the customer do what we want them to do?” For example a retailer would “convert” a customer when they buy a product. Adobe’s best of the best segment converts customers twice as often as an average marketers.

Mobile marketing efforts may explain, in part, why those conversion rates are so much better for the top 20 per cent. Those marketers receive 77 per cent more smartphone visitors, and the gap between the top segment and the rest widened over 2012 with the overall share of visits growing by three per cent.

Smartphone visits market share

When it comes to tablet visitors, the leading segment of marketers also wins a much larger share when compared against the rest of the pack. Retail sites receive 55 per cent more tablet visits than the average, for example.

What made the most difference in driving conversions differed by industry, according to Adobe. Take for example, these numbers for the five vertical segments carved out in the study:

  • The best financial services firms saw 70 per cent higher mobile traffic than the average and saw 55 per cent more pages per visit.
  • The best high tech sites saw 68 per cent more tablet traffic.
  • The best retail sites had a 51 per cent better “stick rate” (visit longer than one minute)
  • The best media sites had 35 per cent more time spent on site
  • Travel and retail winners saw double the conversion rate

The marketers sitting behind the leaders are experiencing certain gaps in their work flow, Mellor says. “We found the gap in creating content and distributing out to the audience is somewhere we’re looking for efficiency.”

So to help marketers identify their gaps and compare themselves agains the rest of the industry, Adobe is offering a new, free tool available online. The Adobe Digital Marketing Maturity Assessment is a survey composed of 44 questions and was developed by Adobe’s digital strategy team.

“The concept of the assessment is to tease out performance gaps and essentially ask the right questions when looking at your organization’s people, product, and process capabilities,” he says. “It’s not about using this product or that product. It’s about the themes.”

The tool’s focus areas break down into seven categories around digital marketing.

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